Winner of the Christopher Award
Published 1997, Simon & Schuster 978-0-689-82395-4
This is the poignant story of Elli Friedmann, only 13 years old when her life was turned upside down in March 1944. It was then that the Nazis invaded Hungary and changed the lives of Elli and her family. A familiar story of deprivation and dehumanization, I Have Lived a Thousand Years is an excellent Young Adult non-fiction narrative. The chapters are a timeline of the horrors imposed upon the Hungarian Jews late in the war – from the identification of the yellow Star of David, the removal of rights and privileges of the citizenry, to incarceration, hunger, and loss. At the same time, it is a story of hope and strength, of faith and family and of survival.
“I am basking in a miracle. … I am alive. I have seen the sun rise. I am touching the earth, the grass. I'm here on the mountain. It is so simple, to be alive. You move, you breathe, you touch. You feel the air about you. You can see, see far about you. … The sky. I stop being afraid.”
Elli survived Auschwitz, working in a factory in Augsburg, and Dachau. She survived starvation, illness, exhaustion, and despair. Unbelievably, her mother also survives with her through it all – to liberation in April of 1945. She lost her poems, but she did not lose her life.